2002-09-28 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beach... With Beverly Baxter
Dr. Geraldine Chapey: Bridging The
Senior Transportation Gap                                   

     Among the many women whom I have come to know and befriend since first moving to Rockaway more than a decade ago, there is one woman whom I so much admire for her unbridled commitment to and accomplishments on behalf of Rockaway's senior community.

Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey has been addressing the many quality of life issues senior citizens face in order to maintain an optimal life style that is rich with a myriad of stimulating activities. However, how to travel to and from these activities is perhaps a senior's greatest daily challenge. Transportation to and from the Rockaways is an often-arduous task for one who is in excellent form; yet the lack of a convenient and accessible form of transportation can often leave seniors more isolated and alone than they may already be. "Rockaway is geographically isolated from the many activities in which seniors may wish to participate" states the Democratic District Leader. "That is, if they had a comfortable and safe form of transportation. This congressional district has the highest number of seniors in the country; and although there are "access-a-rides" that seniors may use to transport them for medical purposes, there really hasn't been transportation to take seniors on day trips to cultural destinations and everyday shopping excursions."

Dr. Chapey has been actively working on making transportation  easier for seniors since 1994. Through her work with Trinity Senior Services, Dr. Chapey has been able to obtain funding for a brand new customized van with motorized wheelchair accessibility. With its big and wide windows and luxurious seating, seniors can travel in comfort to shopping, doctor appointments, and different points of recreational and educational interest. The van is driven by Bobby and Chris, both carefully screened drivers with  Commercial Driver's Licenses. Its use is open to any senior who resides in Rockaway, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, and Ozone Park. Although the van is open primarily to seniors, Trinity Senior Services offers intergenerational activities where seniors sponsor the younger generation on various trips. Trinity Senior Services has already taken numerous seniors to museums, Queens Theatre in the Park, luncheons, and orchestra seat tickets to Broadway shows. In addition, it offers intergenerational after school programs where seniors can use their cumulative life experience to offer academic intervention, homework assistance, and English Language learning courses. In exchange, youngsters are teaching seniors the world of computers. This year, the program will add a school newspaper club, and an intergenerational trip for seniors and youngsters is planned to go to the Statue of Liberty. The Van Program, initiated by Dr. Chapey who, as a fourth generation Rockawayite, is quite familiar with the transportation difficulties faced by seniors, is most proud of this accomplishment that truly avails access to quality of life activities for seniors. With exorbitant insurance costs and Professional Insurance for the Board of Directors, the van has been an expensive proposition. Dr. Chapey has worked hard to obtain funding through government and private sources, and through the grants she has written. She praises the Trinity Board of Directors for their commitment, hard work, and concern for seniors. To book a group trip on the van, simply call Trinity Senior Services at 474-1647 any day between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. for more information. Congratulations to my friend Geraldine Chapey on achieving this milestone that literally brings senior citizens closer to a richer and more fulfilling quality of life.
***The Rally to show support for Peace in Israel is planned for October 6 at the Knights of Columbus at 2pm. The keynote speaker will be a member from the Council of Israel. All are urged to attend.
***The general membership of the James Conway Sullivan Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee held its first meeting of our 28th year. Members voted on a slate of exciting honorees for our 2003 parade. Our Grand Marshall will be James Cahill, International Representative of the Local Steamfitter's Union. Our Honorary Grand Marshalls are Ret. Fire Chief Martin Kelly and Barbara Eisenstadt, President of the Rockaway Music and Arts Council. Our Deputy Grand Marshalls are Ed O'Grady, Timothy Dufficy, Betsy Henry, Nadia Murphy, Barney Cassidy, Tom Hughes, Patrick Russell, Betty O'Shea, Nadine Carroll O'Donahue, and a member of the Rockaway Rockies. Our Female Grand Marshall will be announced upon her acceptance. The Gael of the Year will be presented to the much adored Jimmy Supple. Slainte to all the honorees of whom you will be reading much about in this column!
***Here They Go Again! The Rockaway Music and Arts Council will host their Fall Crafts Fair this weekend where you can browse and become stimulated by the work of our many talented local artists as well as the work of artisans from around the country. While there, you will surely want to visit with Photogragher and Mirror Artist Mike Greenstein. Do plan to come!
   See you...at the fair!      

Josephine McPartland, Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Virginia Shea and Maureen McGee

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